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M. In this case, Edward, there was no time for unbelief; the words were fulfilled as soon as spoken, Cyrus, with his Medes and Persians, had, by this time, entered the city ; they now surrounded the palace on every side, and Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, was slain that very night, being surprised in the midst of all his revelry.
Even as God had foretold by his prophet Jeremiah, saying, “I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, 0 Babylon, and thou wast not aware ; thou art found and also caught; and I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, her rulers, and her mighty men, and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of Hosts."
SIXTY-THIRD SUNDAY EVENING,
DANIEL IN THE LIONS' DEN.
M. I TOLD you last Sunday evening, Edward, how Cyrus, with great skill and wisdom, managed to take the city of Babylon, and how Belshazzar was slain in the midst of his unholy feast. With this king, the Babylonian empire ended, and with it all the power, and pride, and glory of that famous city; this event happened just fifty years after Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Judea, and carried
the people of God captive into Babylon ; and thus were fulfilled many prophecies which Isaiah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, and Daniel had spoken against it; as you will one day be able to observe for yourself.
E. Did the Persian empire begin now, mother, as the prophet Daniel had said ?
M. Yes, my son; the Medo-Persian, or the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, took the place immediately of the Babylonian empire, and Cyaxares, or, as he is generally called, Darius the Mede, became king of Babylon, in the stead of Belshazzar. This Darius was the uncle and father-in-law of Cyrus, and the king of the Medēs. There were many other kings afterward in that country of the same name, but he is generally distinguished from the others by the name of Darius the Mede.
E. Why did not Cyrus become king of Babylon, for you
know he had all the trouble of taking the city ?
M. Yes, the trouble, and the glory of taking Babylon belonged most certainly to Cyrus, but the Medes were at that time a greater people than the Persians, and Cyrus thought it better, during his uncle's life-time, to give up the crown to him, especially as he was to succeed him in the whole empire when he died, for he had married his only child.
So Darius the Median took the kingdom : and he endeavoured immediately to settle the affairs of it in the best and wisest manner. In order to do this the better, he divided the whole kingdom into a
hundred and twenty provinces, over which he set as many princes to govern them, and over these princes he set again three presidents, or chief ministers, whose business it was to see that the government of each province was properly attended to, and that the king's commands were obeyed in every part of the empire. Now who do you think was chosen by king Darius to be the first of these three presidents ?
E. Perhaps it was Daniel, mother, if he were still alive?
M. You are right; Daniel was the person chosen, for accounts of his great wisdom had reached the ears of king Darius, and he was glad to give the charge of his new empire into the hands of a person in whom so excellent a spirit had always been found, and who had so long been accustomed to conduct public affairs. He made Daniel, therefore, the first of the three presidents which were over his vast empire, and so great was the value which the king had for him, that he thought to advance him still higher, and to set him alone over the whole kingdom ; with none greater than himself, excepting only the king upon the throne.
So greatly did God make this pious Jew to prosper, although a captive with his people in a strange land.
To see a captive Jew raised by his sovereign to such honour and greatness, was likely, you may
be sure, to stir
of the other great men in the kingdom. We are told in the Bible, that the spirit within us lusteth to envy; our desires of
up the envy
worldly good are so strong as to fill our hearts with envy towards those who possess more of them than
Instead of rejoicing as we ought to do, in seeing our neighbours respected and prosperous, we are too apt to grieve at their success, particularly if it stand at all in our way, and seems to hinder us from getting on too.
This is a sad picture of our fallen nature, my child, but I am afraid it is too often shown to be true.
Well, in this unhappy spirit the princes and presidents of Babylon set themselves against Daniel. He, a stranger and a captive, to be raised above them! they could not bear the idea of it; therefore they did all they could to bring him down.
E. How did they do that, mother? I hope they were not able to hurt him.
M. In the first place, my son, they tried to find some fault with him as to his public duties in the kingdom, that they might accuse him to the king, and have him disgraced and humbled. tried in vain ; they could find no real fault in him, no just cause of complaint against him. Daniel was faithful in the duties of his station, neither was there any error found in him.
The holy prophet knew that he was not only to worship and serve God sincerely, but diligently to do his duty to his neighbour, that is, to all men with whom he was concerned, in that state of life to which it had pleased God to call him. He knew that it was idle to pretend to religion, if he were not faithful in the duties of his station. The examples of piety set before us in Scripture for our imitation are ex
But they amples of men who always united their duty to God with their duty to man. They are remarkable for honesty and truth, for prudence, fidelity, and diligence, and that even in serving heathen masters.
E. Yes, mother ; you know how faithfully Joseph served Potiphar and Pharaoh.
M. I was just going to remind you of Joseph, who became so great a favourite with Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and so bright an ornament to his kingdom; it was thus, too, that Moses afterward shone forth in the same country, and thus that Daniel became so much valued in Babylon.
From these holy men we should learn, and even you, my child, are not too young to learn so useful a lesson, that if we wish to please God, we must do our duty in that state of life in which he has placed
Whether we are high or low, rich or poor, young or old, we have all some duties which God expects us to attend to, and we must try like Daniel to be diligent and faithful in them, that so we may receive that reward which the Lord has promised to those who serve him, and be an ornament to our Christian name, and make our religion admired by all who know us.
E. I am very glad, mother, that the enemies of Daniel could not find any thing to say against him to the king
M. Though they were disappointed, my son, in the hope of finding some fault in bin, in regard to the affairs of the kingdom, they were not content, I
say, to let the matter drop. Those sad passions of envy and malice are not easily hushed